“Clear” Skin

{Here goes pouring out my insecurities}

I think every teen goes through an acne phase, some way worse than others. So why do I, at 20 years old, still struggle with acne today?

My friends, family, and (now) fiance have always told me I’m still beautiful no matter what spots I have on my face. I tried especially hard to look in the mirror and replay their words over and over through my mind, trying to convince myself these spots are only temporary and they don’t determine who I am as a person. They will stop popping up. Eventually.

Having acne in college isn’t the same as having it in high school. No one points it out to you or makes fun of you for it in college, because, well, most of us are mature at this point. Certainly being made fun of for my cystic-like spots didn’t help my insecurities whatsoever. I wanted to crawl back into my bed and never come out until the spot healed and went away….

I almost think it’s unfair, ya know? I have always been so envious of other girls who have acne-free skin with no scars from pesky zits. I’ve dealt with acne, from little bumps to cystic-like sores, for as long as I can remember. And not just on my face. My back, arms, chest, and neck have all been affected by these relentless bumps. I have tried everything from over-the-counter medications; scrubs, cleansers, spot treatments, and, more recently, natural remedies such as raw honey and avocado, to prescription medications like antibiotics, creams, and other topical treatments.

My skin can be tricky sometimes. It’s normally the oily type, but when using harsh cleansers, it would dry out my skin and make it irritated and red. Then that would cause my skin to produce twice as much oil than what I started with. A never-ending cycle of trying to help clear my acne, while in reality I was hurting my skin even more.

Last year I started using more natural treatments instead of harsh drug store scrubs. My skin really loathes anything containing salicylic acid and benzyl peroxide. A makeup artist, who works with the photographer I’ve shot with numerous times, recommended using things like avocado and raw organic honey with lemon juice. These things have been a God-send for my skin and a huge change from drug store products. After searching online for different opinions and perspectives of natural treatments, I can agree with the fact that if I wouldn’t put it inside my body to eat it, then why would I want to use it on my skin?

I agree with that to a certain extent. I think if you find something that works for you, then by all means, use it. Natural is definitely better, but gentle, drug-store treatments can work well too. Although using raw honey is great for my skin (the natural antibacterial qualities of it help to moisturize and cleanse your skin while fighting off bacterial acne), it started to dry out my skin. It may be partly because it’s winter, but I needed to stop using it as much either way.

In my recent trip to the dermatologist, I’ve learned that my acne flares up worse around the time of my periods and it’s likely hormonal. Okay, I’ve known acne is caused by hormones, no surprise there. It’s also caused, in part, by stress. Again, no surprise, right? But I think to myself: shouldn’t my hormones be a little calmer by now with my being, um, not a teenager anymore? Well, I don’t feel too great about taking an antibiotic everyday for weeks on end, or birth control either, so I was given some topical treatments to try out first. One is a cream that stops anything from coming up and already present bumps from flaring up any worse. The other treats present bumps and works to get rid of them. It takes a little while to see results, as does with any acne treatment, and I think I’m starting to see those results. I was also told to use both creams at the same time for the best results.

Also, one thing I came across in my search online was to stop washing my face altogether, something called the caveman regimen. Basically, the rationale is that by not washing your face at all, even rarely with water, your skin will heal itself on it’s own. I’m not gutsy enough to try this myself, especially since I regularly wear makeup, but I still took some of the advice from the caveman regimen to heart: Doing less sometimes really is more. Or in this case, just better for your skin.

My current routine goes as follows: In the mornings I don’t “wash” my face. I simply use water in the shower and dry it with a towel afterwards. At night I use Noxzema, a very gentle cleanser that has been my go-to when other harsher cleansers have failed. And if I have any spots that come up or see any starting to, I use the topicals from my derm before bed too. Occasionally, I will use raw honey as a mask to brighten and freshen up my face.

I took the time to tell you all of this because it shows my struggle with this “condition” and my finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel so-to-speak. Maybe my hormones are finally “leveling out” for lack of a better phrase, or my change in cleansing habits are really helping to clear my skin. Either way, I am starting to see my skin for what it really is as it has gotten clearer and stayed this way. I’m finally becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I still have bumps that pop up and I understand I will never have “perfectly” clear skin, but now I finally feel like I can manage my acne. I have a greater hope that I won’t continue to struggle with these blemishes and the insecurities that come with them.

When I have friends and family who tell me that my skin looks really good, clear, healthy, etc., that makes me want to literally jump for joy.

xoxo

{To save this post from being any longer, I didn’t go into too much detail about the natural treatments I use/have used. If you want to know about what I use and how, comment below!}

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